overhead table showing tea cups and tea sandwiches

How to Throw a Tea Party

Publish Date February 29, 2024
Author MyMagazine Staff

Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations, retirements, baby showers and wedding showers often make springtime feel like one big celebration. No matter your reason for gathering — the arrival of spring is reason enough — a tea party creates a perfect atmosphere to make cherished memories with family and friends.

There’s something so elegant and charming about a tea party where guests can nibble on scrumptious finger foods while sipping on warm cups of tea. How you celebrate is up to you. Maybe you go all in on the pastels. Maybe you revive your grandmother’s cherished china set. Maybe your tea sandwiches are a divvied-up party sub from our Deli. No matter how you take your tea, tea parties are for everyone: kids, adults and especially girls named Alice who fall down rabbit holes.

The Setting

First things first: do you want your tea party to have a theme? Here are some ideas to help get you started.

Teddy Bear Tea (pictured)

Have little guests bring along their beloved teddy bears to this party — just make sure to include extra table settings for their cuddly pals.

Garden Party

Host this soiree outside and enjoy all the enchanting scents of spring. A DIY flower crown station makes a nice addition.

Royal-Tea Affair

Perfect for anglophiles and aristocrats at heart, this is a great theme if you want guests to wear fancy hats or fascinators while embracing British tradition.

Books and Brews

Whether you’re in a book club or looking to start one, host your next gathering tea party style. Because what pairs better with a good novel than a cup of tea?

Whimsical Wonderland

Channel Alice in Wonderland and include decorations like clocks, rabbit figurines, playing cards and maybe a top hat or two.

Theme or no theme, consider whether you want to host your tea party indoors or outside. Fresh flowers and tea light candles make lovely table decorations, and film scores like those from Pride & Prejudice and Little Women can really add to the ambiance. Need fancy teacups or serveware? See if you can borrow what you need, and embrace a mix-and-match look. Finally, consider some extra special touches, like lanterns, fairy lights or even a bubble machine. (Because why not?)

The Music

Check out a splendid teatime Spotify playlist.

pattern of different tea sandwiches

The Sandwiches

Dill-icious Smoked Salmon

Rye bread + cream cheese + dill + smoked salmon

Radish Bliss

Sourdough bread + butter + chives + thinly sliced radishes

BL“Tea”

Wheat bread + bacon + tomato + lettuce + mayonnaise

Sweet Raspberry Dazzle

White bread + chocolate-hazelnut spread + raspberry jam

The Teas

When it comes to tea, there are hundreds of different varieties featuring unique flavor combinations. So, it might surprise you to learn that there are actually only four types of tea: white, black, green and oolong. Additionally, there are the naturally caffeine-free herbal brews that are commonly called tea but don’t contain any tea leaves. Caffeine-free herbal teas are great if you’re hosting a tea party for kids.

5 tea cups overhead showing each tea variety

1. White Tea

When brewed, white tea is light in color and mild tasting, with a bit of natural sweetness.

2. Black Tea

Black tea is very dark, with a strong taste and fragrance. It’s often enjoyed with lemon, sugar or milk.

3. Green Tea

Generally, brewed green tea has a vegetal, grassy flavor and can be mildly bitter. It’s often blended with jasmine or dried fruit for balance.

4. Oolong Tea

Oolong tea can taste sweet and fruity with honeyed aromas, or grassy and fresh with the smell of a floral bouquet.

5. Herbal Tea

This naturally caffeine-free brew can be made from a variety of herbs, plants, flowers and dried fruits — often in combination.

Shop Teas

The Menu

Make-ahead quiches and skewers are perfect for a delightful afternoon tea party. Save time by serving fresh fruit and store-bought desserts, like frozen macarons or shortbread cookies.

cheese and fresh herb quiche

Cheese and Fresh Herb Quiche

Indulge in a delightful blend of creamy cheeses and aromatic herbs.

mini pepperonie pizza quiche

Mini Pepperoni Pizza Quiches

This recipe is a fusion of classic pizza goodness and quiche comfort.

prosciutto, melon and mozzarella skewers

Prosciutto, Melon and Mozzarella Skewers

Delicate slices of prosciutto pair nicely with creamy mozzarella and the subtle sweetness of melon.

The History

Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is often credited with the invention of afternoon tea around the year 1840. Households were eating their suppers later in the evenings, and the Duchess of Bedford described a “sinking feeling” she was having around 5 p.m. To combat her growling stomach, the duchess started enjoying a late afternoon snack alongside a cup of tea. And from there? A new tradition was born.